“I don’t know how you do it all.”
I hear that phrase a lot. There are various answers I give.
“I don’t either.”
“I choose to let many things go.”
“God just wired me that way.”
All those answers are true. Some days I DON’T know how I manage a busy family and career. I DO choose to let a lot of things go, mostly housework. And yes, God DID design me uniquely, with the gifts and talents I need to live the life I’m called to live. All of those things are true.
Also, I work hard to schedule my days/weeks/months/years in a way that works for me. I know how to organize my time well (most of the time) and I’ve learned some things along the way that help me maximize the time I do have.
One of the things I’ve learned is to use theme days. Theme days help me batch together similar tasks or work so that I am more focused. Theme days also help me know that I have a specific day to do the things I need to do. When I know I have a day for those tasks, I don’t have to expend mental energy other days of the week worrying about when I’m going to do that thing I need to do. Having theme days helps me organize my time and reduces my mental clutter.
My theme days are:
- Sunday – Worship and Prep day
- Monday – Goal work day (heavily task oriented)
- Tuesday – Online work day (website and social media work)
- Wednesday – Wellness (mental/physical health and self-care)
- Thursday – Writing (blog posts, articles, coaching assignments, sermons)
- Friday – Financial (bills, budgeting, paperwork, turn in receipts, mileage)
- Saturday – Sabbath (rest and play)
How theme days work, for me at least, is by placing tasks related to whichever theme on that day. For example, if I need a haircut or to schedule a dentist appointment, I do that on Wednesdays. When bills come in the mail or I need to organize and turn in my mileage report, I do that on Fridays. When I realize some website updates I need to make for work, I put those on my Tuesday to do list. If I have an idea for a blog post, I put that on my Thursday list. On Mondays, if there are specific tasks I need to do to work toward a specific goal, I place those on Mondays. Sundays are the days I prep the weekly calendar and any meal items. Saturdays are the days I try focus on rest and play or fun family things.
Theme days help me organize my time and my mental energy. And because I know I have a specific day to do the things, I don’t worry as much about when I’ll do them.
It’s a good system, but not perfect. Sometimes I need to get into the doctor sooner than what is available on a Wednesday. Sometimes a work deadline can’t wait until the next appropriate theme day. Sometimes, meetings or other appointments that I have no control over need to happen. That’s totally ok! Theme days are a tool (not a rule). Theme days help organize time, energy, and tasks. Theme days should work FOR you, not stress you out.
It will take you about a month to rearrange your schedule and make theme days really work for you. And your theme days will be different from mine. Think about your life and the season you are in. What are the main groupings of things you have to focus on? When is best for your day of rest (and everyone needs a rest day in the week)? How does your mental and physical energy flow during a week? You might have theme days that look like housework, social/fun, volunteer, staff meetings and supervision, grandkids, or any number of other ideas! They are YOUR theme days!
So what might your theme days be? How could theme days work in your life? If you already use theme days, I’d love to hear what makes them work for you. If you want to try them out, I’d love to hear that too!